When you have determined in which niche you want to start, it is time to find your name. Nowadays it is difficult to find a name that you can also register as a domain since a significant amount of top level domains (TLD) are already registered or in use. The most popular TLD is com and it stands for commercial. You also want to consider
- biz can be a good alternative to com
- org for if you run a non-profit organisation
- net can be an option for when you are building a network or are in a technical niche
- a country’s domain is also a viable option, if you want to adhere to a certain geography or language, or if it matches your name, eg scarletlipsti.ck
What is a domain name?
It is how your customers find your store. The domain name is the part in the web address that identifies your online store. It is a hefty decision. The domain plays a big role in your marketing, your SEO, and your entire branding. You can ask your self the following questions to find your business name (also known as your domain name).
- Is your name short, easy to type and remember, as well as pronounceable?
- Does your name appeal to your target market?
- Is your name related to your market or product?
- Does it have other meanings that could tarnish your business?
- Does it have a strange meaning in another language?
- Is your name unique?
As a starting point, you can write out two lists of words. The first is a list of words you love; your list might be:
The second list contains words that are related to your market, your business, and your product(s).
- bag carrier
Now combine the two lists and mix the words freely
- zen cat
- samurai bag carrier
- ninja toy
You could also add a modifier word like the, my, cool, etc.
You can also use the help of domain name generators like Instantdomainsearch.com. If the name you have chosen is available, it will be listed or marked as purchasable. If you click on it, you will be taken to the partner registrar of the domain name generator service.
Before you register your name, also check if it is also available on social media. It is also a good idea to check if your chosen name has a history that you have to deal with later. This could be things like your name is too near to other brands so that people can confuse it or it may even lead to trademark conflicts.
Once you have your desired domain name, you have to be quick to register it before it gets snapped up by someone else. You also want to make the best deal, not only in terms of price but also how the customer service of the registrar is.
What are domain name registrars?
A domain name registrar is a business that sells domain names and manages everything that has to do with registering them.
All registrars are accreditated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Each time a customer buys a domain, the registrar will update a record with their information at the correct registry.
Even if in the Internet jargon we say “buy a domain”, in reality, it is more “rent a domain”. Registrars usually provide annual or multi-year renewals, often with a discount if you opt for a longer period subscription.
How to pick the right registrar?
Not all domain registrars can sell all domain name extensions. Some for example only obtained the license to sell country-specific extensions while others offer a wide gamut of extensions.
Some companies specialise only on domain registration, while others offer additional services like hosting, email, even marketing.
Always compare the prices of different registrars. Some of the price difference can be attributed to the desired name. Specifically, different top-level domains have different prices. Then, the companies themselves have different price structures. For instance, some offer an enticingly low price for the first year, but the renewal prices can be eyewatering. And, you are locked into a subscription of at least 3 years.
After comparing the prices, you also have to check if there are other fees, for example when you want to transfer your domain, and how their customer service. Pay attention to any pre-checked options that will hike your registration cost.
Depending on your needs and skills, you can choose to buy your domain from a domain registrar, your hosting from a separate hosting provider, and lastly your website and online store from a third provider. This option gives you the most freedom and is best suited for someone who is not shy to do some technical work themselves. Then you can also choose a website builder that also provides domain name registration. With this option, you can start straight away. As all is under the same roof, you will have less administrative overhead but also less versatility. Of course you can pick and choose everything in between.
How to choose the right hosting provider?
The foundation of any website is a reliable, well-maintained hosting. A web host also called web hosting service provider is a company that provides the technological infrastructure and services needed for the website to be viewed on the Internet.
In other words, web hosting is where all the files of a website live. It is like the home of the website.
When you start a new website, you need a web host that stores all your files, assets, and databases on their server. When someone wants to visit your website, they enter your domain name into the browser address bar, and your host sends your files back to the visitor’s browser.
Therefore, you want a stable and dependable hosting provider. Ask yourself the following questions to pick the right one for you.
- How fast do you plan to grow? Or how many visitors do you expect?
- How much hand holding do you need?
- From where are the visitors?
- What additional services do you want (like email addresses, backup, etc)?
You also need to check
- uptime (for reliability
- testimonials and feedback (reputation)
- 24/7 chat or phone support
- operating systems provided
- support for various programming languages (maybe you need a special language if you have a website custom made).
These guidelines give you more tips on how to choose the right hoster.
To start your online website, you need a catchy name, register it with a domain registrar, and find a solid hoster. When you have all these, you can start to build your online store.
Do you have another way of finding a name for your business? Tell us how below.